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Five YSR Congress MPs to resign, sit on hunger strike

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Five YSR Congress MPs to resign, sit on hunger strike
Source: The Hindu

New Delhi: All the five Lok Sabha Members of YSR Congress on Thursday announced they will resign from Parliament and sit on an indefinite hunger strike at Andhra Bhawan here over their demand for special category status to Andhra Pradesh.

The party also said that on one pretext or the another, the Lok Sabha Speaker is not admitting its no-confidence notice and has been denying a discussion on the motion.

“After the house is adjourned sine die tomorrow (Friday), all five of us will tender our resignation and sit on an indefinite hunger strike at the Andhra Bhawan till our demand is met,” party MP Vara Prasadarao Velagapalli said.

Addressing a press conference here, the MPs blamed Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu for failing to get the status for the state despite being in the ruling National Democratic Alliance (NDA) for four years.

They dismissed the state’s ruling Telugu Desam Party’s (TDP) MPs’ protests inside Parliament for special status as mere “gimmick and antics”.

The YSR Congress decision came after Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan did not take up the no-confidence motion for which the YSR Congress gave at least 12 notices on different occasions.

“On one pretext or the another, the Speaker is not admitting our no-confidence notice and has been denying us a discussion on the motion. If the motion is not taken up again on Friday, we will have no choice but to resign,” Velagapalli added.

He said that let alone the special category status, Naidu “could not even get what is enshrined in the Andhra Pradesh Bifurcation Act”. The TDP quit the NDA last month.

Another MP Y.V. Subba Reddy said that the proposed resignations will not be symbolic and these would be submitted in a proper format. The party would like bypolls to be held for the seats vacated by them, he said.

Responding to the Chief Minister’s remarks that “some tainted parties” were ready to shake hands with the BJP in Andhra Pradesh, Subba Reddy said that if the YSR Congress were to join the BJP’s company it “would not have been the first party to have brought the no-confidence motion against the Narendra Modi government”.

Midhun Reddy, one of the five YSR MPs, called the TDP members to resign from the Lok Sabha along with his YSR Congress MPs.

“This sit-in is part of the TDP antics. They are resorting to drama. The marshals will remove them. What I would like to tell the TDP members is — let us fight together for our state and let’s resign from Parliament together. Cheap tactics like sitting in Parliament will not help,” Midhun Reddy said while reacting to reports of TDP MPs staging a sit-in inside Parliament House from Thursday.

Bowing to long-pending demand by a section of the state’s population, the central government had in 2014 bifurcated the state to carve out Telangana and residuary state of Andhra Pradesh by getting the Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Act passed in Parliament.

Velagapalli pointed out that after the bifurcation, Telangana, which accounts for roughly 40 per cent of the total population of the undivided state, got around 70 per cent of the state’s revenue sources while the “residuary Andhra Pradesh that houses around 60 per cent of the population got just 30-35 per cent of the revenue resources”.

To compensate that, the then Union government had proposed special category status to Andhra Pradesh. But that promise has not been fulfilled till date,” he said.

The YSR Congress and the TDP members have been agitating in both houses of Parliament ever since the second half of the Budget session commenced on March 5, demanding special category status to Andhra Pradesh. They gather near the Speaker’s podium while holding placards and shouting slogans.